Telugu Desam president N. Chandrababu Naidu was in an upbeat mood with impressive turnout of people at the series of public meetings he addressed in and around the city on Saturday.

Severe blow

He utilised the opportunity to make a scathing attack on the Congress leadership at the Centre and in the State and recall the achievements of the Telugu Desam Government during his nine-year rule. Addressing the gathering at NGGOs Colony in Visakhapatnam North Constituency, Mr. Naidu said that skyrocketing prices of essential commodities without a proportionate hike in incomes was a severe blow to the middle class. The condition of the poor had gone from bad to worse and they were unable to afford two square meals a day.

He recalled the efforts made by the Telugu Desam Government in the past to make Visakhapatnam the commercial capital of the State. The four-laning of the National Highway that passes through the city, modernisation of the airport and measures to bring Godavari water to the city were all initiated during the Telugu Desam Government in the State and the National Democratic Alliance at the Centre. Roads were widened and parks constructed to mitigate the pollution problem in the city. On the contrary, during the last seven years of Congress rule in the State, Rs.18,000 crores was raised through sale of government lands in the city, but the amount was spent in Idupulapaya and other places while ignoring the interests of Visakhapatnam, he alleged.

The former Chief Minister said that his government was instrumental in getting 33 per cent reservation for women in employment and in educational institutions, gave cooking gas to the poor and brought HSBC to the city, which generated 3,500 IT jobs. Mr. Naidu alleged that thousands of acres of lands were being given away on a platter to the rich, but the government was shying away when it came to issue of pattas to the poor. He demanded a white paper on allocation of lands to industries and SEZs in the State.

Leader of the Opposition in the AP Legislative Council Dadi Veerabhadra Rao, former Minister Ch. Ayyanna Patrudu, Madugula MLA Ramu Naidu, TDP leaders Bharanikana Rama Rao and Sanapala Ramanjaneyulu and Vani were among those who attended.